What is Public Relations and Why Do Companies Need it?
February 10, 2015
Let’s keep this short and sweet, just like a good PR pitch. According to the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”
The goal of a publicist is to inform a targeted group of people about your company or client’s product and/or service and ultimately get them interested in wanting to share the information with their community. Based on my experience, here are a few important things to remember about Public Relations:
Establish and maintain great relationships with the media. Ensure you are generating a positive image of your client at all times. Create a massive, yet targeted, network and stay connected. Gone are the days of an editor being at a magazine for decades. Nowadays, the turnover is high, and you not only need to keep in touch with your personal contact as they may end up at another relevant outlet, but also find out who has replaced them.
Understand WHO your client is and the benefits of their product and/or service. This is turn will help you to understand WHO the right contacts are to reach out to with your pitch. This is extremely important if you have more than one client as each will have a unique voice, tone and positioning. One size does not fit all for your clients, rather, understanding the nuances of what drives them now and their future growth is a key attribute to helping them spread the word.
Understand the media. Before you conduct your outreach, be sure to think about WHY they would want to write about your client. How will this interest THEIR readers? And WHAT specifically about your client’s product and/or service will they care most about? There is nothing more aggravating to an editor than when you pitch them a news item that is completely off target for their market. That isn’t to say you can’t break the mold sometimes and forge new ground, but be cognizant of the fact that your first impression can be your last one.
Why do companies need a publicist? Because PR is what a publicist does day in and day out. Employees who dabble in PR here and there certainly may catch a great story or two, however, by having an agency dedicated to getting your company’s name and product out there and in the inboxes of those who care, is the cornerstone of a good publicist. Especially based on the relationships that have been made and the publicist’s ability to remain flexible, available, and relevant. Getting your company’s product and/or service out there should always be a top priority.
Public Relations is not advertising, and it’s not all about how many impressions a publicist can get you. Sometimes it’s about counting the impressed vs. counting the impressions; it is the age-old argument of quality vs. quantity. But again, it will vary by client and strategy. Additionally, the coverage that a good publicist can get a company is often more credible than those from paid endorsements.
Next I’ll be writing about the importance of adding bloggers to your network, so stay tuned!